First impressions do count. At Flip Side, you can park literally 'at-the-door' - often a problem when dining out in Phuket - so they scored 'big' with me before I'd even made it inside.
Once through the door, we were welcomed by well-trained and eager staff and selected an inside table, under cover but still open-air, rather than out under the umbrellas.
Getting into the mood, I had to try one of the 'Spiked Milkshakes' and chose The Italian Job (homemade vanilla ice cream, 1 shot of espresso, Kahlua, amaretto and milk). My less adventurous partner went for a non-alcoholic Cookie Monster, that one I'll leave to your imagination.
With these liquid creations in place, we moved into the extensive and creative menu. Following the maxim, "When in Rome", we both opted for burgers for our main course. Mine was the Flip Side Burger (a true meat monster!) and my partner took the Porky Pig, a 'pulled pork' burger (roasted pork pulled off the bone) marinated in dark Belgian beer. For a starter we decided to share what turned out to be a huge pile of Muchos Nachos.
We paused, while munching steadily on burgers and nachos, to reflect on what makes Flip Side different: the fact that absolutely everything is prepared fresh on the premises, including the various meats for the burgers and the freshly-baked burger buns. Only prime Australian beef goes into (beef) burgers - and that's bought as whole beef not ground. All the processing happens on site under the close supervision of the chef.
Sauces, too, are made on site, as are a lot of other ingredients, meaning that everything at Flip Side is fresh and lovingly quality-controlled. They may not have reinvented the wheel (after all, a burger's a burger - right?) but they have made sure the ingredients are top notch. If there's such a thing as a prime cut burger, then here it is.
And what an incredible selection of beers! I counted 41 on the menu but I may have missed one or two... My partner, being a Scot, tried the Black Libertine Ale described as: "A creature of two worlds. A dark knight padding silently amidst pale knaves". There's an incredible story behind the brewers of this beer; check them out at www.brewdog.com/about/history . I went for something much lighter, a Belgium lager Vedett Extra Blonde, much more to my Aussie taste.
How to sum up Flip Side? Relaxed and easy-going. A pleasant open-air environment near the water. Attention to detail that feeds through to the end product. Easy car parking. And that list of beers! Who could complain? We waddled, replete and content, the very short distance back to the car determined to get back to the weight-loss diets... tomorrow.